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Plans to revamp Aberdeen city centre met with wide approval

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Councillors from across the political divide in Aberdeen were largely supportive of the updated proposals revealed yesterday.

The Conservatives, who are in administration with Labour and the Independent Alliance, reacted positively to the designs from city architect John Halliday.

The opposition SNP and Liberal Democrat groups also welcomed the plans.

Tory group chief Fraser Forsyth said he was “impressed” with the update on the earlier idea to relocate the entrance to the city train station.

Mr Forsyth said: “I think anything is feasible.

“If you look at buildings like the Gherkin, if you said 20 years ago that the Baltic Exchange would be replaced with something like that, you wouldn’t have believed it.

“We should not be showing poverty of ambition, if the desire is there, then anything can happen.”

Labour finance convener Willie Young was more cautious. He said: “We have not seen any proposals. Nothing has been formally put to the council.

“We have opened the tendering process for a masterplan that will be coming forward in June and I would encourage Mr Halliday to get involved in that process. What we want to do and what we have been doing is working with the business community, and with the regeneration board. We are the only council in the UK that has put aside £20million for city-centre regeneration.”

SNP group leader Callum McCaig said the proposals were “very much worthy” of consideration. He said: “I am not convinced that everything there will be achievable without any difficulty, but that’s what we need to look into.

“One of the keys to this seems to be the potential for additional retail space. That is not within the council’s gift, and would require talks with Network Rail.

“I couldn’t speculate on how much things could cost, but we need to be open-minded and not be driven by the price tag.”

Lib Dem group leader Ian Yuill said: “Mr Halliday’s ideas deserve serious consideration and serious investigation.

“The idea of linking the south end and Union Square with Union Street is a good one, and I think every Aberdonian would welcome an escalator to replace the steps leading up to the Trinity Centre.”

Read the full story in today’s Press and Journal

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